New Estimates Increase U.S. Wind Potential

A collaborative project between the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and AWS Truewind has resulted in the first comprehensive update of the wind energy potential by state since 1993. The update shows that U.S. wind resources are greater than previously estimated.

Using an AWS Truewind national data set of estimated gross capacity factor (not adjusted for losses) at a spatial resolution of 200 meters and height of 80 meters above ground, NREL estimated the windy land area and wind energy potential in various capacity factor ranges for each state in the contiguous U.S.

‘This new analysis confirms that America is blessed with vast wind resources that can energize our economy, create jobs and avoid carbon for years to come,’ says Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.

Onshore U.S. wind resources could generate nearly 37 million GWh annually, more than nine times current total U.S. electricity consumption, according to the new estimates. The previous national government survey of U.S. wind resources, carried out by the Pacific Northwest Laboratory, estimated U.S. wind potential at about 10.7 million GWh.

The top 10 windiest states are Texas, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Wyoming, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

SOURCES: American Wind Energy Association, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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